Mohamed Salah‘s contract talks have long dominated column inches with no conclusion yet to be reached as many debate if the issue is money, contract length or something else entirely.
Late last week a snippet of the extensive interview with Salah by FourFourTwo was made public, with the No. 11 again offering words on the contract talks.
“I think the fans know what I want, but in the contract, it’s not everything about the money at all,” he said when talking to FourFourTwo‘s Chris Flanagan at the start of April.
And with Salah rarely speaking to British media, This Is Anfield got the inside word from Flanagan on the experience and his view on how Salah’s words came across in the comfort of the Egyptian’s home.
“He seemed very relaxed about everything, including his future,” Flanagan told This Is Anfield.
“I’m sure in an ideal world he would have preferred to have already got a new deal signed and sealed, but I didn’t get a sense he was stressed about it.
“In fact, I specifically asked him whether he was worried about the prospect of potentially going into the last year of his contract without the situation being resolved, and he insisted he wasn’t.
“I got the sense that his number one aim is absolutely to stay at the club, but that he was prepared to wait a little longer to get the best deal possible if that’s what it takes.
“That’s all part of how negotiations work, but he was quite clear that he wants to stay, even if he couldn’t 100 percent guarantee he will at this stage because talks are still ongoing.”
As for the particular line from the 29-year-old that the fans know what he wants, Flanagan offered how he interpreted the comments from Liverpool’s prolific forward.
“I think when he said ‘the fans know what I want’, he was referring to the fact that he wants to stay at the club and renew his contract, which he’s alluded to previously and confirmed again in this interview,” Flanagan explained.
“His added quote that it wasn’t all about money was interesting, as it was unprompted – I’d asked him how he saw his future, but my question hadn’t mentioned money.
“I suspect that was something he wanted to say and make clear, as he’ll no doubt be aware that during any contract negotiation, the player is often viewed as being only focused on money.
“He was keen to make clear that these negotiations aren’t only about finances – he said that he couldn’t outline the exact situation, and I can’t personally claim to be privy to any definitive information about the talks, but my best guess was that he might have been alluding to the length of contract that’s being discussed.
“That would fit with other things he said, like his desire to break Ian Rush’s club goal record one day – that will take a few years.
“We also talked about him turning 30 soon, and he went out of his way to list seven or eight top players who are still playing at a very high level well into their 30s.
“To me, that again seemed to be making a subtle point that he’ll still be a top player for several years yet, which would fit with a possible desire for a long contract.”
You can read FourFourTwo’s interview with Salah in their magazine, which goes on sale in the shops this Thursday (April 28) and is available to order online now here.